Rowing: Everyone’s Sport

British Rowing launches an updated strategic vision for rowing: “Rowing – Everyone’s Sport” setting out a mission to grow a healthy, inclusive and life-enhancing sport

Download the Strategic Vision

Download the Strategic Vision

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for our sport and the whole community. It’s been heart-warming, however, that whilst boats, gyms and oars have sat idle for long periods, the rowing family has come together and risen to the challenge – keeping clubs engaged, staying active and looking out for one another. As we start on the road to recovery, we know rowing stands ready to play our part in helping the nation recover and stay physically and mentally healthy.

As we start on the road to recovery, we know rowing stands ready to play our part in helping the nation recover and stay physically and mentally healthy

Now is the time to celebrate the variety that rowing can offer and the diversity of rower that we can attract. From urban indoor rowing to touring winding rivers and from battling the waves on the coast to racing six-abreast on a multi-lane course – rowing has something for everyone. As we look to grow our sport, we must embrace the opportunity this gives us to open our sport to the widest possible group of people: removing barriers and welcoming change. Our strategic vision aims to grow a healthy, inclusive and life-enhancing sport through four key goals and four enabling goals:

Key GoalsEnabling Goals
Great communityPositive, connected & collaborative culture
Brilliant competitionsFun, engaging, relevant & sustainable offer
Strong clubsInclusive & diverse
Performance successHigh performing & progressive governing body
Key Goals:
Great community
Enabling Goals:
Positive, connected & collaborative culture
Key Goals:
Brilliant competitions
Enabling Goals:
Fun, engaging, relevant & sustainable offer
Key Goals:
Strong clubs
Enabling Goals:
Inclusive & diverse
Key Goals:
Performance success
Enabling Goals:
High performing & progressive governing body

Our strategic vision isn’t just for British Rowing as an organisation but is designed to help the whole sport keep growing and thriving over the coming years. Whether it’s the sound of a blade cutting into the water that you love, the rhythmic hum of the rowing machine or the buzz of activity as you walk into your club, this strategy aims to help you to share our fantastic sport with others. The Strategic Vision is just the first step of the journey and we have set out below some questions and answers to help you understand the context of our approach.


Over the next four years, we aim to grow the profile of rowing’s broad offer, that we are effective in our ability to support all elements of the rowing community and that, together, we firmly position rowing as a sport for everyone.

Andy Parkinson

Chief Executive Officer | British Rowing

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why is a Strategic Vision important?

A. In the same way it’s important for the whole crew of an eight to be in sync, to grow our sport we all need to have a shared understanding of what we’re aiming at. The Strategic Vision provides alignment for our Board, staff, wider volunteer teams and rowing as a whole as we all aim to maintain a healthy, inclusive and life-enhancing sport.

Q. How was the Strategic Vision created?

A. The Strategic Vision has been created through a combination of examining the broader landscape that our sport operates within and the specific issues affecting our sport directly. The Vision was created in consultation with volunteers at all levels of rowing, British Rowing staff across different areas of the sport and ultimately has been approved by the British Rowing Board.

Q. What happens next?

A. The Strategic Vision is just the start of the process – from a central perspective we are currently creating a series of plans to support achieving the goals within the vision and prioritising the areas which need most attention. Some of these may be central projects at a governing body level, however, many will involve developing tools and resources to help those at the grassroots level of our sport keep delivering against the goals set out in the Vision. Throughout the process we will be consulting and looking for input from across the sport so please do start having those conversations in your club, with friends and with the wider community to help understand what we can all do to help grow rowing.

Q. How does this apply to me as a club?

A. Clubs are absolutely central to rowing and critical to the delivery of the goals set out in the Vision. As a club you may read through the Vision and feel that certain goals are more or less relevant to your particular club or environment. That’s okay but we hope the Vision will help provide a framework for you to think about what you might like to consider to grow and/or adapt your club.

The Vision may inspire you to consider doing things in a slightly different way or to try new things completely – if that’s the case, we are here to help, support and enable you to make that change. There may also be things that you are doing really well and we’d love to hear from you about those so we can help showcase and share that experience across the sport. The Vision is not about taking anything away from our sport or ignoring the incredible heritage, instead it’s about adding to the rowing experience for more people.

Q. How can I contribute to the next steps?

We would love to hear your views on the Strategic Vision and what role you think you can play. If you’d like to contact us, please email [email protected] with your comments and ideas. We will be hosting sessions with your Regional Rowing Council over the coming months so please come along and get involved in a collective conversation around how we can all make this happen.

Q. How will we measure success?

We have established a series of key performance indicators for year one of the new Strategic Vision and as our operational plans progress, we will share further information on these and report on how we are performing against the measures.

Without our members, we wouldn't be able to provide the guidance, support and emergency funding that we have been able to during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please consider continuing to support our sport by renewing or purchasing your British Rowing membership today.

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